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Lecturer 4 sociological Investigation

Course instructor: Mudassar Zulfiqar Mudassar.1983@gmail.com

sociological Investigation

How sociologist gather knowledge about the world Apply sociological perspectives and be curious to ask questions

Science and common sense

A logical system that derives knowledge from direct, systematic observation The basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way
(The Cambridge Dictionary)

E.g. Earth was flat

Common sense vs. scientific Evidence

Common Sense Scientific Evidence

Colds are caused by viruses

Colds are caused by chills and wet feet

Men survive hardship and exposure better than women

Women survive hardship as well as better than man

Most poor people dont want to work Ones character shows in one face

Some, but not most poor people

No dependable association between facial feature and personality characteristics

Quantitative and qualitative research

Quantitative Qualitative

Involves analysis of numerical data


involves analysis of data such as words (e.g. interviews), pictures (e.g. video), or objects (e.g. an artifact)

The aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed

Research questions

Researcher knows clearly in advance what he/she is looking for

Provide a complete, detailed description of the research topic, more exploratory in nature Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for

Quantitative and qualitative research

Quantitative Qualitative

Objective seeks precise measurement & analysis of target concepts, e.g., uses surveys, questionnaires etc Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect numerical data Data is more efficient, able to test hypotheses and can be generalized

Subjective - individuals interpretation of events is important ,e.g., uses participant observation, in-depth interviews etc.

Researcher is the data gathering instrument Data is more 'rich', time consuming, and less able to be generalized

Three ways to do research

Positivist (scientific) sociology Interpretive sociology Critical sociology

Three ways to do research

Positive sociology

Study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior

Interpretive sociology

The study of society that focuses on discovering the meanings people attach to their social world

Element of science

Concept Variable Measurement Operationalization Reliability and validity Relationship among variables

Element of science

Concept : Mental construct that represent some part of the world in a simplified form Family



Element of science

Variable A concept whose value change from case to case Price Social class Example The more education a person has the higher the income a person has. Independent variable(education) Dependent variable (income )

Element of science


A procedure determining the value of a variable in a specific case Example Social class (variable )

Income Education Occupation

Element of science

Operationalization Specifying exactly what is to be measured before assigning a value to a variable Or The process of identifying the indicators Reliability : consistency in measurement Validity : Measuring exactly what you intended to measure

Element of science

Relationships among variables Cause and effect relationship A relationship in which change in one variable causes change in another Example When studying hard for an exams result in high grade I.V= studying hard D.V= high grade